Started my week by meeting a champion early this morning. Nivedha (Name Changed) is a student from Orathnadu, Thanjavur and was referred to Maatram foundation by a teacher named Anuradha in her district who has never met her before. She came to know of Nivedha looking at a Flex banner in her town calling out the academic achievements and wanted to check if we can help this girl continue with her higher education. We decided to speak to her and invited her to Chennai for a personal interview. Only when we spoke to her, we understood the struggle the family had to go through to get her to this stage. Nivedha is very good with her studies and scored a whopping 572/600 in her 12th board exams. She wanted to pursue medicine and appeared for the NEET exam without any coaching and as expected her score was not good enough to get her a Govt college medical seat. Her first angel came in the form of the Correspondent of London Krishnamurthy school in Orathanadu who gave her full scholarship to completer her schooling from Class I to Class XII. Looking at the potential of this child, he requested a NEET coaching center in Thanjavur to admit her on special request and Nivedha grabbed this opportunity. She went on to score 604 in her NEET exam and managed to get admission into Thanjavur Medical College.
When children from Middle class & Upper Middle class score high marks, the family rejoices, celebrates and gifts are showered. It’s exactly the opposite in the poor households where the pressure parents go through unimaginable pressure. When the child has not scored good marks, it gives them a reason to stop education but in cases like these where the child scores phenomenal marks but cannot continue studies for want of money, the parents go through hell.I could see the helplessness in the eyes of the father who somehow wanted to get her daughter educated. Some students give us the spark and hope in just one single meeting and Nivedha was one such student whom we wanted to admit immediately. We assured her that her entire educational expenses will be our responsibility and she should never worry about the money or how her father is going to raise it. We gifted her a phone for her online classes and starting today she will be guided by our medical students from our foundation. Seeing the father break down was hard but I hope he will never have to shed a tear henceforth.
Towards the end of the conversation, I asked her – What do you want to do after MBBS?. She put her head down and said “I want to do my MD in Nephrology”. I said “…any specific reason on choosing Nephrology” and with tears in her eyes she said “Sir, I lost my younger brother due to kidney failure few years back. We couldn’t treat him for want of money and I saw my parents suffer. His death is one big reason why I wanted to pursue medicine and didn’t give up. Needless to say my father was of big support in this journey”. What she said just shook me up for a minute and there is so much purpose in why she wanted to pursue medicine. While we are happy for Nivedha, I am not sure how many more such dreams are shattered for want of money and coaching assistance. I just want to take this moment to thank the Correspondent of London Krishnamurthy school – Sir, I don’t know who you are but you are indeed a guardian angel for this girl. Secondly to Anuradha teacher who wanted to help Nivedha and it was her effort that this girl was able to reach us. We at Maatram are indeed super proud to have someone like Nivedha amidst us.Incidentally Nivedha will be the first Medical college student from her village. #MaatramFoundation

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